Does Con Coughlin know anything about the military?

I know the bloke has a reputation for simply filing whatever he was told at the last Westminster lunch he went to but come on, this is ludicrous:

Yet by the same token, the refusal of many Western leaders to contemplate any armed action to dissuade Mr Putin from further military adventurism is not helping to defuse the crisis. In Britain our over-cautious approach means that, whether we are dealing with Islamic State in Iraq or Russian aggression in the Caucasus, the knee-jerk response of David Cameron and Philip Hammond, our new Foreign Secretary, is immediately to rule out the possibility of “boots on the ground”.

It’s September. What are the three laws of warfare?

Don’t get involved in a land war in Asia.

Don’t invade Russia in winter.

And there’s another one I’ve forgotten but that’s enough there. We’re simply not going to fight in Eastern Ukraine because fighting, with our forces, in Eastern Ukraine would be ludicrous.

Presumably it wasn’t actually anyone from the Army that Coughlin last had lunch with……

22 comments on “Does Con Coughlin know anything about the military?

  1. But his point is that it’s foolish to *publically* rule out boots on the ground, because you’re giving Putin free reign to advance further. The canny tactic is to rule out nothing, always leave the enemy guessing.

  2. Oddly enough, Russia has only ever been conquered in winter. But that was from the east, long ago, with horses. Rivers being easy to cross when they are frozen.

  3. The canny tactic is to rule out nothing, always leave the enemy guessing.

    Quite. Obama has been particularly clueless in listing all the things he won’t do in response.

    At the very least, we should be supplying the Ukrainians with anti-tank weaponry. I note that the president of Lithuania was advocating a slightly stronger response than the pathetic bleating of “let’s wait and hope it goes away” coming from Merkel, Hollande, et. al.

    By the way, does anyone still remember MH17? How quickly did that get brushed under the carper to avoid “antagonising” the Russians? Good to see that policy paid off.

  4. I’m sure that the whole British Army, less than 100,000 men, could do what 3,000,000 Germans couldn’t.
    Where do they find them?

  5. Boots on the ground escalates things.
    Then there’s the problem of mission – what is the mission? How do you know you have achieved said mission? What response will the enemy have to your response and so on.
    Plus how long do you leave them there for?

    In Ukraine, if we fire at Russians how much can a conflict escalate? Logistically and propaganda wise its easier for Russia to escalate.

    We’ve invaded Afghanistan 4 times, Iraq 3 times. Can’t see what has changed at all in either place. Lots of dead people, injured people and for what?
    We got involved in the civil war in Libya – whats improved?

  6. It is also quite likely that the EU and the CIA kept their hooters out of Ukraine they might not be a shooting war going on there now. Yeah–the place was troubled. But outside meddling leads to more outside meddling.

  7. He could benefit from playing a few military-strategy computer games. Can’t remember what it was called, but there was one I played where every turn it flashed up a hint/tip. They were all stuff like ‘click here to activate the such-and-such function’, and that kind of thing, except one, which was ‘don’t start a land war in Asia’…

  8. “the refusal of many Western leaders to contemplate any armed action to dissuade Mr Putin from further military adventurism”

    Or “go to war with Russia” to put it more clearly. Eastern Ukraine “is not worth the life of a single British Grenadier”.

  9. Eastern Ukraine “is not worth the life of a single British Grenadier”.

    I don’t think we would be fighting for Eastern Ukraine, that is almost lost. We’d be fighting for Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia which IMO are worth fighting for. Not that I think attacking Russia directly is the way to go tactically, but the thinking would be to confront Putin now would save confronting him later, closer to home. Personally I think they should hammer Russia commercially: immediately slap sanctions on banning any dollar transaction in the company or any American company from operating there, turn it into North Korea overnight. Putin will be “fall from a window” within a week if the oligarchs feel he is costing them their fortunes.

  10. Question:- Does Con Coughlin know anything about the military?

    Answer – No

    He is a stupid fucking soak that regurgitates everything the last chap that bought his drink told him. A prime tosser!

  11. Eastern Ukraine is full of people who view themselves as Russian. The Baltic states, and indeed Western Ukraine, are full of people who don’t. It’s bonkers to suggest that Russia views the latter in the same way as the former.

  12. Eastern Ukraine is full of people who view themselves as Russian.

    Not as much as is suggested.

    The Baltic states, and indeed Western Ukraine, are full of people who don’t.

    With a fair smattering of those who do. Especially in Estonia, I know a few of them.

    It’s bonkers to suggest that Russia views the latter in the same way as the former.

    It is if you believe for one minute that Russia is invading Ukraine for the benefit of people who consider themselves Russian. But if you believe, as I do, that Russia’s actions are a result of its age-old conviction that territory equals security and the more territory it has the better, and that it still smarts in Moscow that they don’t rule as much of it as they used to, and they believe the uppity Balts and Ukrainians need to be taught a lesson, then it looks less bonkers.

  13. Surreptitious Evil, nice catch.

    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line”!

    I wonder if William Goldman/S Morgenstern was inspired by Montgomery?:

    Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know Rule 2 of war. It is: “Do not go fighting with your land armies in China”. It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives.
    In the House of Lords, 30 May 1962 (Hansard, Col. 227)
    The United States has broken the second rule of war. That is: don’t go fighting with your land army on the mainland in Asia. Rule One is, don’t march on Moscow. I developed those two rules myself.
    Interview, 2 July, 1968; quoted in New York Times, 3 July, 1968, p. 6.

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